NY CAP Research Alliance Announces Projects Funded
Eight Rensselaer scientists will lead or participate in six research projects that recently received initial funding from the new NY CAP Research Alliance, under which Albany Medical Center, Rensselaer, and the University at Albany have joined forces to pursue critical biomedical research. The alliance was formed earlier this year using nearly $1 million in state funds awarded through the 2011 statewide regional economic development process under Governor Andrew Cuomo.
After considering 33 proposals for seed funding, utilizing an independent scientific evaluation organization, the leaders of the three institutions—Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson, Albany Medical Center President and CEO James Barba, and University at Albany president George Philip—held a news conference to announce the 10 teams that submitted winning proposals. Those involving Rensselaer researchers included:
Associate Professor Eric Ledet, of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, will lead a team that will search for ways to reliably mass-produce implantable sensors that can give doctors more detailed, real-time information following a patient’s surgery. He will be joined by fellow Rensselaer Professor Kenneth Connor, as well as Professors Richard Uhl and Daryl DiRisio from Albany Medical College, and Associate Professor Nathaniel Cady from the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany.
Assistant Professor Peter Tessier, of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and his collaborators will research a new class of novel antibodies that show promise in potentially treating Alzheimer’s disease. He will be joined by Assistant Professor Ewan McNay of the University at Albany and Professor Earl Zimmerman of Albany Medical Center. Zimmerman also serves as director of the Albany Alzheimer’s Center.
Associate Professor Shiva Kotha, of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, will spearhead an effort to develop new “smart” bandages to aid the healing of wounds. They will examine a new technique that uses pumps to create a slight vacuum around a wound. He will be joined in the project by Biology Professor George Plopper, Assistant Professor Nadine Hempel of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany, and Rensselaer biomedical engineering graduate student Sterling Nesbitt.
In addition to those project teams led by Rensselaer scientists, Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Guohao Dai will join a team led by Albany Medical College Professor Peter Vincent to further explore a new approach to tissue engineering. This new approach uses a novel three-dimensional ink jet-like printing technique to produce layers of tissue.
Also, Institute Professor Georges Belfort will work on a second project related to Alzheimer’s disease, led by Professor Paul Agris of the University at Albany. Agris also leads the RNA Institute in Albany. They and other team members will focus on early detection of precursors to Alzheimer’s, using a new diagnostic system that employs selective binding of what are known as RNA-aptamers. They will be joined by Distinguished Professor Marlene Belfort and Associate Professor Hua Shi of the University at Albany, and Professor Earl Zimmerman of Albany Medical Center.
Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor David Corr will join a team performing research on specialized tissue engineering. His team is led by Professor Melinda Larsen of the University at Albany and Professor Livingston Van De Water from Albany Medical College.
The Alliance is designed to spur economic growth, formalize existing collaboration, and foster additional cooperation among numerous biomedical research entities located in New York’s Capital Region to attract notable biomedical research talent to the region; leverage research-related investments and increase the amount of supported biomedical research under way in the region; identify opportunities for development of products as a result of research and secure seed funding for their commercialization; encourage development of businesses producing biomedical interventions and devices; and bring new opportunity to the region and create new jobs in a sector that can be expected to continue to grow.